Monday, August 17, 2009

The Drama Drop -

#1- Six weeks after opening, Next to Normal began what is a Broadway first: over the extremely popular social networking site Twitter, an adapted version of the show began to be published in the form of tweets — which are text messages of 140 characters or less that become a hugetastic micro-blog. Several times daily over 35 days, followers of N2NBroadway eagerly awaited the arrival of the tweets which were lines from the show, from a character at a time.

About a week into the serialized Twitter performance, Next to Normal had 30,000 followers; when it ended with the last line of the final song, “Light,” about 145,000 had signed up. Then, as the cast began text messaging back and forth with followers, their numbers continued to grow, recently topping 550,000 followers.

An article in the Sunday, New York Times says:
According to the tracking site Twitterholic, N2NBroadway is ranked 210th, attracting more followers than celebrities like Paris Hilton and Stephen Colbert and brands like Starbucks.

Damian Bazadona, president of Situation Interactive, an online marketing and advertising firm that conceived of the Twitter performance, said that text messages have avoided marketing the play explicitly by, say, offering ticket discounts.

“You wouldn’t go to a social event and start selling someone something,” said Mr. Bazadona. “The content itself was doing the selling for us, so we didn’t need to bang someone over the head and say, ‘Here’s how to buy tickets.’ That would have smelled so advertising.”
Not only can you follow @N2NBroadway, but you can also follow yours truly on Twitter as well. Or, if you're not into "tweeting" check out my Twitter feed over to the right.

[Photo- Aaron Tveit, left, Alice Ripley and J. Robert Spencer in Next to Normal. Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

#2- George Steel and the New York City Opera have quite a road ahead of them on their way back to before. When he arrived, with what some thought to be "little operatic experience", there was a reported debt of $15 million; staff members were demoralized; unions representing the orchestra and chorus did not know whether to fight or throw in the towel.

Since he arrived, however, some $10.5 million has been raised for various funds and future projects. In addition, Mr. Steele has said in a New York Times article by Anthony Tommasini, that the company has in recent years raised roughly $14.5 million annually for operating costs. But even with the house dark last season and the future looking bleak, the company brought in about $12 million for fiscal year 2009, he said, calling this an “astonishing fact.”

Things could still crumble. Negotiations were still under way with the American Guild of Musical Artists, representing the chorus, solo singers, dancers, stage managers and others. But according to our dear, and extremely flawless, La Cieca at, an tentative agreement has been reached.

[Photo- George Steele by René Perez]

#3- According to the Washington Post's Anne Midgette:
Get your Cracker Jack now, because "Barber" is going to the ballpark. The Washington National Opera announced Monday that for the second straight year, the company's opening-night performance -- this year, The Barber of Seville on Sept. 12 -- will be simulcast live at Nationals Park, free of charge.

Last year's simulcast of La Traviata, the first such broadcast at the stadium, was planned within a matter of weeks and drew about 15,000 people. The stadium offers obvious advantages over the Mall (where the company broadcast three previous operas): a built-in screen, optional stadium seating in addition to picnic blankets on the playing field and, of course, concessions. Planning for this year's simulcast began virtually as soon as last year's event was over.
What a fantastic way to bring such an amazing art form to the masses. But, a little advice... nothing takes the place of seeing it live.

[Photo- About 15,000 people watched La Traviata at Nationals Park last year. By Gerald Martineau, The Washington Post]

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